If you had visited Holy Trinity Parish in Hudson just a short year ago, you would have found a blank grassy lot next to the parish rectory. This summer, that same space overflows with lavender and bee balm while water fountains gurgle in the background and roses clamber across stonework. The mastermind behind the transformation is resident pastor Father Anthony Barratt, whose English roots are betrayed by his British accent and the fresh scones in his kitchen. Having acquired a Master’s Degree in Garden Design from the Royal Horticulture Society simply for the fun of it, Father Barratt uses his green thumb to transform his parish’s grounds into veritable English gardens.
Father Barratt’s design knowledge is integrated into every detail at the Holy Trinity garden. Underneath the patchwork of color lies three-year-old manure, compost, and top soil, all necessities for sustaining healthy plant life. A fence protects against wildlife, new water lines sustain the fountains and a patio invites visitors to stop in. Flower beds designed in gentle curves lead the eye to believe the space is larger than it is while carefully curated shrubs and flowers provide a succession of color month after month.
The resulting lush green space invites visitors to take a moment to rest, to pray, or to, quite literally, stop and smell the roses. Open for use by parishioners, many parish programs use the space for meetings, such as the marriage preparation program, during which engaged couples are greeted with wine and cheese in the garden. Father Barratt often uses his own time working in the garden for prayer, explaining that, “while I’m watering, I can pray the Rosary.” The secret to the healthy blooms is in the water: “I use holy water,” Father Barratt quips. With flowers such as Our Lady’s Mantle, Rose of Sharon, lilies, and Angel Trumpets filling every corner, it’s not difficult to slip into a state of prayerful reflection.
Father Barratt’s favorites in his gardens? “Lilies. And the simple flowers, the hard workers,” whose blooms last all summer long.
(Story and photos by Kathryn Costello)